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Review / ‘Dior and I’ (M) ***

BELGIAN Raf Simons, newly-appointed creative director at Paris fashion house Dior, doesn’t draw designs. He gives written briefs which atelier staff will convert into maquettes for expensive gowns. Other people’s docos about couturieres follow the designer from tabula rasa  through design drawings to cutting and machining fabrics to the obligatory closing shots of skinny young […]

Review / ‘A Little Chaos’ (M) ** and a half

EVERY journey has a first step. For Jeremy Brock and Alison Deegan, writing their debut screenplay for “A Little Chaos” took them straight into the directorial arms of Alan Rickman. Few actors do better sneer than Rickman. “A Little Chaos” is his second directorial effort (he brought Emma Thompson to Australia for “A Winter Journey” […]

Review / ‘Big Eyes’ (PG) ***

“O VILLAIN, villain, smiling, damned villain!… one may smile, and smile, and be a villain.” There was a practical reason for studying “Hamlet” as the obligatory foray into Shakespeare for matriculation exams all those years ago. The quote neatly describes not the usurper who has just married his royal brother’s widow, Hamlet’s mum, but Walter […]

Review / ‘That Sugar Film’ (PG) *** and a half

TO assemble the data for this documentary examining the effect of sugar, more specifically, fructose, on human health, writer/director/principal player Damon Gameau offered himself as the guinea pig for trials partly monitored by qualified health professionals but mostly devised by Gameau himself. It’s a delightful film brimming with information, humour and visual delights. But it […]

Review / ‘Infinitely Polar Bear’ (M) *** and a half

IN the city of Cambridge north of Boston in 1982, life is not going well for the Stewart family – Cameron (Mark Ruffalo) and Maggie (Zoe Saldana), daughters Amelia (Imogene Wolodarsky) approaching puberty and Faith (Ashley Aufderheide) somewhat younger. Suffering with bipolar disorder, Cameron is unemployable. The money has run out. Maggie, unable to get […]

Review / ‘Kidnapping Mr Heineken’ (M) ***

IN 1982, Dutch brewing magnate Freddy Heineken was kidnapped and eventually rescued after payment of reputedly the biggest ransom ever paid for an individual. That’s great material for a movie in which director Daniel Alfredson and writers William Brookfield and Peter R. de Vries spurn the rules of the genre and deliver a refreshing narrative […]

Review / ‘Top Five’ (MA) *** and a half

MY lack of interest in black comedian Chris Rock collapsed after seeing “Top Five”, a mixture of acerbic social observations and sharp comedy that he wrote, directed and starred in, which did not insult my intelligence by belabouring me with stupidity masquerading as humour. Rock plays Andre, whose career in comedy no longer delivers satisfactions. […]

Review / ‘Inherent Vice’ (MA) *** and a half

IT’S 1978 and Shasta the ex-girlfriend of drug-addled PI “Doc” Sportello (Joaquin Phoenix) is telling the audience how she has kicked her addictions and is now counselling schoolkids about sensible drug use (the first of many mordant comic moments). Shasta wants Doc to prevent the wife of her new lover Wolfmann and the wife’s lover […]

Review / ‘Seventh Son’ (M) ***

SERGEI Bodrov’s filming of a novel by Joseph Delaney offers spectacular visual imagery, both natural (mainly in Canada) and computer-generated, a vigorous plot, exciting action, a cast unfazed by the fantasy environment and some unsupported presumptions in the delivery of its drama. The number seven has mystical and religious associations. The seventh son must come […]

Review / ‘Unfinished Business’ (M) **

CONSIDER the variety of positions that humans adopt while copulating – missionary sometimes varied as prone à tergo or side-by-side, cowgirl, doggy, knee-trembler and wheelbarrow. Not that many, really. Wheelbarrow requires the most strength and agility. What’s all that got to do with a film about three American businessmen, desperate to shake hands on a […]

Review / ‘Focus’ (MA) *** and a half

CONFIDENCE tricksters are fertile themes for filmmakers, whether comedy (“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”) or intense drama (“The Wolf of Wall Street”). “Focus” doesn’t exactly match either of those categories, but combines elements of both in a package of excitement, passion, romance, success and occasional failure, violence, excitement, tension, conflict and surprises. All of which in their […]